Smashing Time

Smashing Time
Directed by Desmond Davis
Produced by Roy Millichip
Carlo Ponti
Written by George Melly
Starring Rita Tushingham
Lynn Redgrave
Michael York
Music by John Addison
Skip Bifferty
Cinematography Manny Wynn
Edited by Barrie Vince
Partisan Productions
Selmur Pictures (as Selmur Productions)
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
Running time
96 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $630,000[1]
Box office $290,000[1]

Smashing Time is a 1967 British comedy film starring Rita Tushingham and Lynn Redgrave. It is a satire on the 1960s media-influenced phenomenon of Swinging London.

It was written by George Melly and directed by Desmond Davis. The supporting cast included Ian Carmichael, Michael York, Jeremy Lloyd, Anna Quayle, Irene Handl, Arthur Mullard and Geoffrey Hughes.


Brenda (Rita Tushingham) and Yvonne (Lynn Redgrave), two girls from the North of England, arrive in London to seek fame and fortune. However, their image of the city is quickly tarnished when they are robbed of their savings by a tramp. Determined not to let her chance slip, Yvonne visits Carnaby Street in the hope of catching the eye of a trendy photographer, whilst Brenda has to stay behind and do the washing up in a 'greasy spoon' cafe after the girls can't afford to pay.

Yvonne does get spotted by a trendy photographer, Tom Wabe (Michael York), but for all the wrong reasons; she is singled out for being poorly dressed.

After several unsuccessful job attempts, Yvonne accidentally wins the star prize in a television game show and decides to invest the prize money in becoming a pop star. Her single, I'm So Young, though patently awful, becomes a big hit and she and Brenda drift apart. As Tom Wabe's muse, Brenda goes on to become a top model, while Yvonne's popularity wanes. However, at a glamorous party (at the top of the Post Office Tower) the girls realise the shallowness of the media business and decide to return home.


Production notes

The film reunited Redgrave, Tushingham and director Davis from the 1964 film Girl with Green Eyes. Similarly, Murray Melvin and Paul Danquah, Tushingham's co-stars in A Taste of Honey, appear in cameo roles as boutique shop customers. Geoffrey Hughes, later to become familiar to millions as Eddie Yeats in Coronation Street, appears as a workman. The then-popular BBC series Juke Box Jury is parodied as Hi-Fi Court, and the UK version of the hidden camera series Candid Camera is parodied as You Can't Help Laughing!

Private Eye magazine referred to the Queen and Princess Margaret as Brenda and Yvonne (respectively). The film also implies that the Queen is a fan of Yvonne's single.

Some of the characters' names are borrowed from Lewis Carroll's poetry, chiefly the nonsense poem Jabberwocky: Charlotte Brillig, Tom Wabe, Mrs Gimble, Bobby Mome-Rath, Jeremy Tove, and The Snarks (the rock band played by Tomorrow). Additionally the futuristic art exhibition is held at the Jabberwock Gallery.

The film was nominated for a Golden Globe (Best English-Language Foreign Film) in 1968.

The theme-tune was sung by Tushingham and Redgrave, who also performed several of the numbers in the film. In the 1993 BBC series Hollywood UK, about the British film industry in the 1960s, the actresses appeared in the back of a London taxi singing the theme again. Michael York would later appear in the Austin Powers films, which also parodied 'Swinging London'.


The film performed poorly at the box office and ABC recorded a loss of $710,000.[1] The film critic Alexander Walker noted that the film arrived too late to parody 'Swinging London' as the fad was already dead.[2]


  1. 1 2 3 "ABC's 5 Years of Film Production Profits & Losses", Variety, 31 May 1973 p 3
  2. Walker, Alexander (1974) Hollywood England: The British Film Industry in the Sixties, Michael Joseph.
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